Posted On 23 Oct 2017
Get to know the 19 year-old New York singer Mia LJ, who just dropped a powerful new music video for her single, “Ambiguous” and is catching fire with leading music and LGBT sites.
Here is just some of the recent praise she has received:
Jezebel calls Mia LJ’s new video “moody and sensual”, and says that it is great “that we’re at a point where women are controlling this type of narrative”. PRIDE named the track as one of 11 Queers Songs of The Week, and calls it “unapologetically sexually fluid.” NewNowNext featured Mia on their front-page with an interview about her new video. Singer’s Room calls Mia’s new release “bold and personal” and featured Mia LJ interview on the front page earlier this week.
Mia LJ Online:
Learn more about Mia LJ in the following All Access interview here:
Thanks for your time today! Where does this interview find you? Is there music playing in the background? If so, what is it? What music gets you instantly out of a bad mood? What is a song you are loving these days?
Ayyy pleasure to connect! I’m just chilling at a studio in the LES (Manhattan, NY) vibing to The 1975’s “Milk.” Any and all music normally gets me out of a bad mood, especially classics by Biggie, Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, Tupac, Eazy – E and more. Lately, I’ve had Alina Baraz & Galimatias “Urban Flora” EP on repeat. I absolutely love her vocals combined with his production. The side chaining & overall ambiance are some of my favorite sound elements in music.
Growing up, did you always want to be a musician? Can you recall your earliest musical memory? Was there a time where you thought of doing something completely different?
Without a doubt! I’ve been playing music for well over a decade now. My earliest musical memory dates back to sometime around my fifth birthday, when I was gifted my first guitar, a black & white Stratocaster rip off haha. Music is a drug that I’ve been addicted to for much longer than I can remember. This is all I’ve ever intended to do. I devoted my life to music after picking up the guitar at 5 years old. Since then, I’ve dedicated 14 years to furthering my abilities through five other instruments, singing, songwriting, producing, mixing, and mastering. I began to pursue music professionally at 13 years old. Of course things took time to get off the ground, but I’ve learned to trust the timing of my progress. *in thick unknown accent * : my master plan is proving to be successful — * mischievous grin whilst XO Tour Llif3 plays in the background.*
Musically, did you approach this year any differently than you did last year? How has 2017 been treating you and your career? What are you most excited about for in 2018?
My musical approach has evolved so much since last year, it’s kind of hard to believe. Over half of the songs that were originally planned to make the cut for my upcoming debut album were completely scrapped. My sound design has progressed towards an experimental fusion of indie rock, jazz, blues, R&B, neo – soul, and alternative music. I’ve become much more comfortable when playing around with my niche. I also started mixing & mastering independently. This was a bit of a scary transition for me considering how much I have on the line with this project. Quality is something I obsessive over. Doubt & fear are so overwhelming sometimes on this path I’m taking to manifest my dreams. I’ve been working like mad for so long, sacrificed more than anyone will ever know, and experienced things people don’t even know are possible for this. Whatever this is. A trip based upon desire, a lucid dream, this is amazing. 2017 has really taken off for me. Seeing all the love & support for my music spike around the world is surreal. It’s so hard to comprehend what is actually taking place. It’s just happening.
I’m incredibly thankful for everything that’s happened & excited to experience more. I’m beyond stoked to share my debut album with the world in 2018!! It’s crazy to see talk of release dates in the press although I’ve yet to reveal details. There’s this anticipation that’s spreading. Every bit of love & hate makes me go harder. I’m also really excited to hit the road consistently in 2018. I’ve been dreaming of touring for ages, so this next phase is an absolute dream come true!
I always like to ask artists about where they came from and how that city or town has influenced them as an artist now. So how do you think your hometown in New York has affected you and your music today?
I’m blessed to have experienced my formative years all throughout New York. I’ve lived everywhere from Queens to the Bronx to the Hudson Valley Region to the Upper West Side and more all in the past year & a half. Flowing through various environments has made me very adaptable & continuously evolving which is so key with a job of this sort.
What was the inspiration for your brand new track, “Ambiguous”? What was it like putting it go together? What has been like receiving all the amazing positive reception to it? Did that surprise you at all?
I wrote & produced “Ambiguous” at 16 years old as a freshman in college. I was in a very experimental phase of life in every aspect ranging from drug use to sexuality to sound design. The literal definition of “ambiguous” is : open to more than one interpretation; having a double meaning. Lyrically, the song is a take on word play based around the separate highs induced by two of the most notorious drugs in history : love & pain killers. Every single bar can be interpreted with a double meaning related to either altered state of mind. All the love & support on this release has taken my life to a new level of surreal! The reactions, love & hate, have only driven my hunger for success to a new height. It wasn’t necessarily a surprise as my focus is consistently set upon doing better. Watching my hard work receive recognition is sweet. I’m psyched to do better and continue growing.
How creatively involved were you with the making of the music video for it? What was it like making it?
I independently write the treatments for all of my visuals & work exclusively with an amazing cinematographer / director, A1 Vision. Working with A1 always makes my job incredibly easy. His quality / style of shooting possesses an elite level of class & originality. The “Ambiguous” shoot was too fun for words. When I woke up the next morning, life truly felt like an absolute movie. Being 19 years old, waking up alone in a Downtown Manhattan glass floor – to – ceiling hotel room, and reflecting on the fact that I’d achieved another one of my dreams was indescribable. I have so many memories that are similar to that one morning, so many dreams achieved. I can’t wait to share the other visuals my team & I currently have in the vault & in the works with the world!
When do you hope to release more new music a full album of new songs? How do you think “Ambiguous” is a good introduction to you and your music for listeners?
I’ll be releasing another brand new single next month! I am beyond stoked to share my debut album “This Livin” with the world. So far, I’ve released four singles from the album. The full project will be dropping in early 2018. In the meantime, besides single & collaboration releases I’ll be serving up visuals on deck!! The concept behind “Ambiguous” is a great representation of my artistry. The song is actually quite different in comparison to the other records from “This Livin.” My music is mainly built upon live instrumentation & carries more of an indie / alternative vibe to it. Litte bit of grooviness. Ya know. Haha. However, “Ambiguous” is the first song I’d ever written solely using digital instrumentation. It was very experimental in respect to the overall sound design. Lyrically, it’s definitely one of my favorite takes.
With the summer over now, what was something fun or new that you tried this summer?
There were so many high points this past summer, from working in various legendary studios to bringing my visions to life through cinematography.
We are living in a crazy and at times rough world right now so I am curious how you think being a musician gives you the most joy in life today? Do you think that new music being created today is going to reflect these hard times?
If you can’t find something to live for, find something to die for. The sole fact that music exists brings so much joy into my life. I don’t watch the news, listen to the radio, etc. I only watch cartoons and even those drive me mental. I am really tuned into music on an organic basis. There is so much amazing music to love from different periods of history. The greats eventually find their way to me naturally. I let sound consume me. There are a ton of artists that have been speaking out upon the world’s state of irrationality through music. I love it. I was listening to Logic’s “Take It Back” on my way to the studio earlier today. It’s incredible how welcoming the world has become when artists speak out about world issues. I love it. I think 90s rap really set the platform for evolution of this acceptance & support to what would have once been considered controversial music. We had a rough start with this approach viewed as inciting riots & negative lifestyles. Now, most people vent any hate or disagreement online [when it comes to music]. No matter whether the response is one of support or rejection, I’d welcome people to express their hate through discussion rather than via physical violence.
Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? What musicians would you absolutely love to work with in the future?
Jimi Hendrix served as a major inspiration for me to pick up the guitar at five years old. Nowadays, Amy Winehouse is a major influence in my guitar playing. I’ve been a massive fan of bands such as Coldplay, Paramore, Young the Giant, and Phantogram all throughout the formative years of my songwriting style. Lately, I’ve been digging production elements within music by artists such as Blackbear & Alina Baraz. I also love groovy writing flows similar to that of Daniel Caesar’s & SZA’s.
How active are you on social media? How important do you think that it has been to your career so far?
I’m very active on social media. I respond to a ton of the messages & comments fans send! It’s getting hard to keep up, but that makes me want to post more & hit the road to really connect with the masses. Social media is a major focus of mine as I am very particular with my sound & image design. I love to serve up consistent quality. Moving forward, even my aesthetic across social media is going to be a major art piece in addition to the music & motion visuals I drop.
What do you hope fans continue to take away from your new and older music?
I hope everyone realizes a personal evolution & growth through sound amongst my past, present, & future releases.
What advice would you give to a young person who is thinking about becoming a musician one day?
DON’T STOP. DISCLAIMER : THIS LIFESTYLE IS NOT FOR THE FEINT OF HEART.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourself, your music or the show?
I LOVE YOU. PLEASE DON’T STOP.